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hovering between the quest for absolute truth and the pursuit of utter nonsense
gloss, n.
  1. A brief explanatory note usually inserted in the margin or between lines of a text.
  2. An extensive commentary, often accompanying a text or publication.
  3. A purposefully misleading interpretation or explanation.
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"The limits of my language means the limits of my world."
-Ludwig Wittgenstein
"An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it."
-Mahatma Gandhi
Segal's Law:
A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.
"Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste more like prunes than a rhubarb does. Now, uh... Now you tell me what you know."
-Groucho Marx

~ Thursday, January 08, 2004 ~

A vain search for shoes, with long interruptions (also vain)
Yay, another extension from JTS's benevolent Rabbi Puppydog! Time to get back to writing now. But first, a journal entry.

Graham sent me today's installment of Zits (about deadlines) and it's totally going on my desktop. I love your taste in cartoons, Graham. Thanks.

I have a reputation at Drisha that I like, thanks mostly to Talia, one of my study partners. I'm the polka dancer. I'm also the California Liberal one, and the philosophically inclined one, and the stupidly excitable one, and the one who only remembers to keep her mouth shut *after* the obnoxious remark slips out, but mostly, I'm the polka dancer. I don't mind a bit, except that it means no one else there is really in the sort of world where they wouldn't be horribly shy about dancing with me. At least there's swing dancing around here.

By the way, my right hip is sore. It has been sore since Sunday. I went swing dancing on Sunday for the first time in months, practically, and stayed for the whole evening. I also met a few nice people, one of whom actually knew what Drisha was (because he spent some time at Chovevei) and his fiancee, and his friend, a fellow named George, who was happy to bounce around and do assisted jumps with me, occasionally without much warning and sometimes as a technique to clear space around us on a crowded dance floor, which was scary, but on the other hand, WHEEEEE!!! As a result I may have put a little more enthusiasm into my dancing in general (and my sugar feet in particular) than usual...but that the dancing should lead to hip soreness is not something I'm prepared to admit.

Speaking of not dancing enough, I see that there's a jammix on Friday. Monica and Ryan's performance group (rebaptised yet again, I see) is doing a jazz cotillion, "a mixture of 19th-century quadrille figures and lindy hop". Hey, west coast kids, you feel that wave of heat? Yeah, that's me radiating envy. Even if I could go, I couldn't go. :( I need to start a Wednesday night jammix in New York.

I am having a snack, a variation on an old classic: green apple slices dipped in Tostitos organic salsa, medium heat. Yummy. Pommes de terre minus the de terre.

I am also listening to Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, which rocks me. BAHM-buhbuh-BAHM-buhbuh-BAHM-boodaloodela-DAH-dada-DAHM-BAHM!! The boodaloodelas are the best part.

Speaking of dancing, again, I still need to go buy dance shoes. Jazz slippers (I never did find them before I left CA) *and* dance sneakers, because the ones Neal gave me are so non-stick at this point that every time I try to do a quick jump-and-turn during Maura on the Moor (a Ring O' Bells original that we were working on at practice last night) I either slipped or did a really sad and wimpy lift-and-turn-and-then-jump-a-little thing. Bad. But the nice thing about Ring O' Bells practice last night is that a few of the in-town-for-the-holidays college students were there again, and they're both extremely cool. Testament to their coolth is that they invited me to join the Wayward Youths, a group of college-age morrissy dancers who pile in a bus and dance their toes off for a week and a half in summer, so that's where I'll be from June 2nd till June 12th. This time, we're starting here in NY and touring southward. Good thing I didn't book a flight home yet...I could fly out of Charlottesville instead of New York. :)

Maybe I'll buy the shoes tomorrow afternoon. I meant to get them today, but instead, bought some other things when I was trying to find the dance stores. I remembered a Capezio store on Broadway somewhere between 50th and 59th, so immediately after Drisha, downtown I went, after a "brief" stop "along" the "way" at 8th St. and Lafayette to hear the nice lady at Joe's Pub's box office tell me that the TMBG show the day after my birthday is sold out. :~( Boo. I couldn't even manage to console myself with dance shoes because I couldn't find the darn store. Instead I was sucked into another shoe store because I've been needing to buy boots for a long time, and they had boots in the window of the desired height (high, so I can go play in the snow and not just walk through the streets) and with the desired level of waterproofth (also high), and with the desired price (not high, so I still have an apartment to go back to when I'm finished playing in the snow). The little easel thingie on the display shelf announced, "Sale! $39.99! Not bad for high boots. I loitered outside for a moment longer, eyeing them, and then went in, It was very much like other shoestores: there was the loud cheesy music, bright lights, and the dissastisfied heavy lady sitting on the bench, with her feet spilling out of a small shoe, and her quiet husband looking concerned, and the salesman doing his best to make a sale. "Yes, but in the warm-weathered countries, you won't want to be wearing any socks. You'll want your feet exposed to the air." Are they going on vacation to Fiji? I went and found the boots on the sales table and, when there was a pause in his pitch, asked to see them in size 9.5. "Yes, in just a moment," he said, dropping face for a moment and looking harried and stressed. Being a salesperson must be a sad job.

The boots go up to midcalf, and were big in the ankle, rather snug at the top, and not very stiff. Studies indicate that there may be a lot of unwanted downward crunching. On the other foot, they have a zipper, feel cushy, and are burgandy pleather. Vinyl? Something shiny and plasticky. Anyway, they're waterproof. And burgandy. They feel warm, too. Did I mention burgandy? Back on the first foot, though, they weren't $39.99. They were $59.99. The ol' bait and switch. After trying them on (and after Mrs. Fiji left with her dissatisfaction, and her husband) I politely pointed out the price discrepancy to the salesman. "Those were the black ones," he said. "Oh," I said, making it clear that it wasn't clear. I briefly considered getting the black ones instead, and then stopped considering it. Burgandy, you know. "...but I'll give you a 10% discount for the misunderstanding," he added. I grinned. "That's not much of a difference," I said, stalling for time while I tried to remember whether it was 69.99 minus 7 or 59.99 minus 6. "It's six dollars," he said. Damn, I thought. Beat me to it. But "I appreciate the gesture," was all I said. "The good thing about those boots," he pressed, "is that you can wear them in wet OR dry weather." I resented the assumption that I cared so much about fashion, so I decided to be difficult: "So what kinds of boots *can't* you wear in dry weather?" But then he got all condescendy and explainy about how some boots look like they're made for rain, but these don't, which I probably deserved. I walked around some more, and looked at the boots, and myself, in the mirror. The plinyl looked painted on in parts, and some of the fabric didn't look fantastically sturdy. I'm pretty hard on shoes, and these had been a little bit of a struggle to zip (yay, dancer's calves) but once on, they were comfortable, and I liked how they looked. Smaller would have been nicer, but that's my feet, not his boots. :) I walked around the store some more and wondered if they'd fall apart soon. I tried to phrase my question carefully. "What would you say is the weakest point on the boot? What part will go first?" He couldn't answer that question, or chose not to, claiming he didn't know. Instead he talked about how the sole would certainly last (it's squishy, but thick, rubber) and how the shoes he's been wearing (unrelated to these boots) have lasted for years, and how the manufacturer of these boots (Andre Assous) has been in business for years--"longer than you've been alive!"

"That might be presumptuous," I tried to say archly. "How long have they been in business?"

"Oh, they've been around for a good 40 years," he tried to say believably. (Not more than twenty-five, from the websites I've seen.) "And you...you couldn't be...oh...more than...19 or 20." I know he was picking the age I look (25 or 26) and knocking off a few years, like any good salesman. Oh, well.

"I'll be 23 next week," I said, trying to look reprimandish, for the obvious bit of flattery, instead of pleased. Of course everyone wants to look 20. Wondering if I look old is my new insecurity. "And that was a very diplomatic response."

"So do we have a deal?" It was just after seven pm, and maybe he wanted to go home and stop being a salesman. I did like the way the shoes looked, and they were comfortable, although they didn't look very strong. I guessed I'd given him a hard enough time, so I acquiesced. "And I'll give you another ten percent off because it's your birthday." About $10 off before tax...not bad. As he was ringing me up he told the other salesman to wish me a happy birthday. "Not for another week," I reminded him. "I don't want you to think I got a discount under false pretences." He turned to his employee. "Do you know what pretences are?" He shook his head. "Neither do I," he said. "Yes, you do!" I shot back, forgetting that it isn't polite to let someone know you know they're lying. "Yes, I do," he agreed. What a salesman. As I gathered my things and prepared to leave he was talking on the phone in a mixture of English and Hebrew. Neat...I never hear that in San Francisco. I confess, I'd probably go back there, too...I was happy about the boots, even if the kowtowing made me a little uncomfortable.

Then I went to look for the two dance shoe stores I knew I'd seen at another time, and discovered them on second floors of office buildings (which was why I missed them the first time), two blocks apart from each other. It was 7:06,and both were dark. :( Next time, I told myself. Next time, Gadget.

After that I went into a hair accessory type store to look for those flat metal barrettes (not the kind with the spring-loaded action, but just the ones made from one long piece of metal, folded roughly in half so there's a "hinge" on the left side, and folded slightly over on the right so there's a little lip that you tuck the bottom half underneath so it stays in place. You know? And there's usually a horizontal slot removed from the center of the top half so you can see a strip of hair through it) for which I've been yearning for a while. Unfortunately, this hair accessory place turned out to be more Hot Topic than Claire's. Id est, they had more sassy little t-shirts and amusing socks and too-glitzy-to-be-edgy bumper stickers than they had barrettes, which was dumb, and a curtained-off 18-and-over-only room full of that sort of lingerie, etc., which was just disturbing, but then when I asked the store employee if his store carried this type of barrette, he kind of laughed at me and gave a cursory glance at the curling iron section before saying he didn't carry them. ?? I asked another employee who seemed to have a better grasp of hair accessories, or at least of English, and he said, "Oh, yeah, I know what you're talking about. Yeah, we're all out of them."


"The kind with the braids, right?"


"Yeah, with the hair attached?" Great, so now I look like I need extra hair, too.

"Nonono, there's no hair attached. It's just a barrette." I removed my hat to demonstrate. "See, you just slide it in and it holds the hair in place..."

"Yeah, and it falls down. In different colors. What are they called. Extensions. Yeah, we're all ou--"

"No, there's no fake hair! It's just a piece of metal. Nothing else." How could he not understand? I pulled out a piece of miniature notebook paper (Oh, yeah, Graham, I still have your little green notebook, except now it's a page thinner.) and demonstrated with the piece of paper how the barrette looked, and how it was narrow and folded over and had a little lip to tuck into itself, and could be slid open and closed by moving the bottom section to the right or left.

I guess I got a little intent about it, because soon the guy was looking at me like I'd bitten his head off or something. "Uh...yeah. We don't have those." I wanted to weep. What's so difficult about the idea of a barrette? Dude, you work at a hair accessories store!! You're supposed to be familiar with this stuff.

I wanted to leave the store without buying anything, but they had silly socks that I liked, so I bought a few pair. Then I walked out and wondered if there might be a Duane Reade nearby, because I was sure they'd have the barrettes. And...there was one across the street. Man, I love New York. They had the barrettes, too. I bought a card with six, and resisted buying more bobbypins, because although the ones I have are by now all tipless, I'm not doing so many ball-type things that I have to have them on hand for elaborate hair arrangement these days. :(

I toyed with the idea of returning to the store across the street and educating The Brothers Stultus, but it was already getting late and I don't think they'd have appreciated it.

Now I am listening to the Queen of the Night aria. I don't know who's singing, but her whistle tones are so pure, it gives me chills.

Time to write essays now.

Current Music: a mix of instrumental pieces, shuffled, courtesy of iTunes

~ prattled by Miriam at 9:45 a.m. [+]

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